The San Jose Sharks (21-12-7) defeated the Detroit Red Wings (19-15-6) by the final of 3-2 in a shootout on their third game of a four-game road-trip. The win gives San Jose two more important points in the playoff race. It was a well-played game on both sides as both teams adjusted accordingly after being outplayed at times. That made for another close game between the two teams, including San Jose’s second shootout in three games.
Head coach Todd McLellan mixed his lines up once again and it seemed to help. Joe Thornton responded from his poor game against the Blue Jackets by tallying his first point (an assist) in three games, after getting none over that span. He also logged three shots, a blocked shot, and won 60% of his faceoffs.
In the first period it was the Sharks who struck first. Patrick Marleau scored on a flawlessly executed two-on-one with Joe Pavelski short-handed. The goal came after Detroit was threatening on the power play in San Jose’s end. However, Pavelski intercepted a pass and took the puck all the way down the ice before he passed the puck to Marleau who scored on the one-timer.
Later on in the period the Sharks had a couple of other chances to score but were unable to. Andrew Desjardins had a wide open lane to the net but was stopped by Jimmy Howard. Also, Vlasic nailed the post about midway through the period on a shot that had beaten Howard.
San Jose dominated the first period of play, outshooting the Wings 11-5 in the first period and taking the 1-0 lead into the dressing rooms.
In the second period roles pretty much switched, with the Red Wings controlling the majority of the period. The Wings outshot the Sharks 14-8 in that second stanza. They got all kinds of scoring chances but Niemi stood strong. That was until Justin Abdelkader scored to tie the game at one apiece on a nice feed from Johan Franzen.
Detroit then got a power play opportunity early on in the third period after a pretty blatant hold by Brett Burns. Detroit made him play when the Red Wings sprung a two-on-one down in the corner and Jakub Kindl buried the one-timer.
Immediately afterwards the Sharks tied the game at 2-2 when Logan Couture scored on a backhander off of a rebound in front. The goal came on San Jose’s fourth power play of the game and the timing could not have been better.
After the two quick goals the pace definitely picked up, including the hitting. During the back-and-forth play newcomer Raffi Torres had a golden opportunity to put the Sharks ahead when he broke in all alone against Howard after sneaking in on the ice after a line change. Unfortunately his shot missed the net completely and San Jose did not score for the rest of the period. Luckily for them neither did Detroit either.
The game ended up going to a shootout, where the Sharks scored twice on goals by Couture and Marleau to win the game. Niemi made two great stops, as usual, to help his team earn the victory.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Patrick Marleau (short-handed goal, game-winning shootout goal)
2. Jimmy Howard (28 saves)
3. Logan Couture (game tying PP goal, shootout goal)